How do personal injury damages make a person whole?

Life is messy, and accidents are inevitably going to happen in New Orleans. Sometimes, these accidents result in an injury. If we decide to do something careless and injure ourselves, that’s on us. Where the safety of others is concerned, we have a duty to act in a reasonable manner. And this is more than a moral obligation, it’s a legal one.

When an individual’s actions fall below this standard of care, we consider them negligent, and the person can be held liable for the damage that those negligent actions cause. A personal injury lawsuit provides an individual with a damage award designed to make that individual whole, but what does this mean?

Money can’t reverse the damage that was done, but this is why the word compensation is often used in a personal injury conversation. There are two types of compensation: special and the general damages.

Special damages are ones that have a market value, like a medical bill for a reparative surgery or a salary amount that was forgone during recovery. A medical bill is clear evidence of the cost of a particular surgical procedure. Lost wages for x-days out of work under a specific salary is measurable. While these damages still require proof and may still be contested, there is a discernible market value.

General damages are different. These damages compensate the victim for the pain and suffering that they endured. It isn’t just the physical pain associated with the injury. Take for example a person who absolutely loves to draw in his or her spare time. What if the person’s hand isn’t as steady after an accident? What if a couple’s sexual intimacy is affected? What about a scar that causes a child to get bullied by his or her peers?

A jury has more discretion to determine general damages, and in some jurisdictions there is a cap on the amount that they jury may award. This cap not only differs from Louisiana to Georgia and any other jurisdiction, but it also may apply to a certain type of claim, like a drunk driving accident or medical malpractice case.

Fighting for the maximum compensation a victim is owed is one of the reasons why we hire an attorney that understands our situation and has experience in these types of cases.

Source: Forbes, “‘Pain And Suffering’ And The Rule Of Law: Why Caps Are Needed,” Michael Krauss, April 17, 2014

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